Syria Defence & Security Report

Providing expert analysis, independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the defence & security industry.

Report includes: BMI Industry View, Industry SWOT Analysis, Industry Forecasts, BMI's Security Risk Reward Index, Company Profiles and Global, Regional and Country Industry Overviews.

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Syria Defence & Security Report
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BMI View: We forecast Syrian defence expenditure to expand only modestly over the next five years, given that the Syrian economy - and government revenues - have collapsed due to the civil war. As the country does not maintain a significant domestic defence industry (and investment into the development of local military manufacturing capabilities is unlikely to be forthcoming amid the ongoing war), we expect the government to remain wholly reliant on foreign allies for defence imports in coming years.

Headline Defence Expenditure Forecasts (2015-2020)
2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f 2019f 2020f
e/f = BMI estimate/forecast. Source: BMI, NATO
Defence expenditure, % of GDP 7.5 8.2 9.2 10.2 11.4 12.7
Defence expenditure, USDmn 2,009.2 2,405.5 2,689.6 3,103.7 3,379.6 3,544.0
Defence expenditure, USD, % y-o-y -13.9 19.7 11.8 15.4 8.9 4.9

Recent Developments

  • In late September 2015, Russia intervened militarily in Syria to support an ailing Assad regime. This has turned the conflict around and Assad forces are now on the offensive, having recaptured the strategic town of Palmyra, as well as progressing in Latakia and Aleppo.

  • Backed by the US, a Kurdish-led coalition has launched an offensive in the north of Raqqa - IS' capital in Syria - while a similar operation led by Arab and Kurdish fighters is targeting the Manbij area, close to the Turkish border, which is a key logistics base for the transit of foreign fighters and for trade.

  • IS has lost territory in the past months, but remains a major actor in the conflict. In late May 2016, Islamist militants launched a counter-attack in northern Syria in an attempt to capture the border with Turkey, through which it can import arms and fighters.

  • A major ally of Assad, Tehran has deployed its regular army in Syria since April, in addition to the Revolutionary Guards Special Forces that were already fighting in the conflict.

Defence Industry Risk Reward Index

The security environment in Syria is extremely fragile due to the ongoing civil war. The Assad regime controls only limited territory in the West of the country. This state of affairs will drive demand for military equipment by government forces in coming years; however, with the economy having collapsed, the potential for defence procurement is limited. Heightened instability, widespread corruption and low levels of economic and investment openness make the establishment of operations in the country an extremely high-risk venture. Consequently, Syria places joint second from the bottom in our Defence Industry Risk Reward Index for the Middle East and Africa, alongside Uganda, with an overall score of 28 out of 100.

BMI Industry View
Table: Headline Defence Expenditure Forecasts (2015-2020)
Industry Forecast
Defence Expenditure
Table: Defence Expenditure (Syria 2014-2019)
Table: Defence Expenditure (Syria 2020-2025)
Defence Trade
Table: Syria - Bilateral Defence Agreements
Industry Risk Reward Index
Defence Industry Risk Reward Index
Table: Middle East and North Africa - Defence Industry Risk Reward Index
Market Overview
Defence Market Overview
Domestic Defence Sector
Domestic Defence Market
Armed Forces Overview
Armed Forces
Table: Armed Forces Personnel (Syria 2008-2013)
Table: Manpower Available For Military Service (Syria 2015-2020)
Security Overview
Domestic Threats
Regional Threats
International Threats
Industry Forecast Methodology
Risk/Reward Index Methodology
Sector-Specific Methodology
Table: Defence Risk/Reward Index Indicators
Table: Weighting of Defence Risk Reward Index

The Syria Defence & Security Report features BMI Research's independent forecasts for national and international security, the defence industry, military expenditure, employment in arms production, and arms imports and exports, as well as examining industry trends and prospects, national and multinational arms producers and the regulatory environment.

BMI's Syria Defence & Security Report provides professionals, consultancies, government departments, regulatory bodies and researchers with independent forecasts and regional competitive intelligence on the Syrian defence and security industry.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark BMI's independent defence and security industry forecasts on Syria to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and strategic business planning in the Syrian defence and security market.
  • Target business opportunities and risks in the Asia defence and security sector through reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in Asia.
  • Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. KPIs and latest activity).


Global and Regional Political Outlooks

A strategic overview of the world’s major political risks, identifying countries facing leadership successions and nations at risk of upheaval, inter-state conflict, or separatism and insurgencies, plus a summary of the world’s ‘wild card’ low-probability high-impact risks.

SWOT Analysis

Snapshot evaluation of the major issues affecting the defence and security sectors, economy and politics, with issues subdivided into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

BMI Industry Forecast Scenario

Historic data series and forecasts to end-2019 for key industry indicators supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast.

  • Defence Expenditure: Defence expenditure (local currency and USDbn); defence expenditure (% of total budget); defence expenditure per capita (USD); defence budget (local currency and USDbn).
  • Armed Forces (to 2012): Manpower available for military service, manpower fit for militaryservice, army personnel, navy personnel,air force personnel, total armed forces, (‘000) (% population).
  • Arms Trade: Arms and ammunition exports and imports (USDmn); bombs, grenades and missiles exports and imports (USDmn); revolver and pistol exports and imports (USDmn); weapons excluding guns and swords exports and imports (USDmn).

Political Risk Assessment

Drawing on BMI’s heritage of more than 25 years of Country Risk analysis, this comprehensively evaluates the key risks to domestic politics and foreign relations, focusing on issues most likely to affect either domestic security or the defence sector.

Security Risk Analysis

BMI’s proprietary Security Risk Indices provide investors with a reliable and country-comparable guide to conflict, terrorism and criminal risk, backed up by our analyst’s latest assessment of each component. Furthermore, drawing on our Country Risk expertise, we assess the state’s vulnerability to a serious, or prolonged, terrorist campaign.

Armed Forces Spending/ Expenditure

The reports contain a detailed breakdown of areas of expenditure by the armed forces, these include spending on international deployments, WMDs and missile defence systems as well as individual breakdowns of the cost-per-soldier.

Competitive Landscape

The domestic security overview lists the various potential internal security threats facing a country, ranging from internal security issues such as terrorism, cyber terrorism, crime and drugs, to external security issues including general defence procedures and potential threats from specific countries. The reports also provide a regional overview which details specific issues and flashpoints affecting the Americas, along with potential risks in the coming year.

Company Profiles*

Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.


The Defence & Security Market reports draw on an extensive network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations, government departments, industry associations, chambers and company reports.

*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.